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Bruins Beat Leafs 4-2 With Little Ball Of Fame: Bruins Analysis, Report Card vs. Toronto



Brad Marchand became a little ball of Hall of Fame and scored consecutive go-ahead goals to help the Bruins snap a four-game losing skid with a 4-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Hockey Hall Of Fame Game in Toronto Friday.

Marchand was awarded the Hall Of Fame Game MVP after putting the Bruins up 2-1 eleven seconds into the third period and then answering a game-tying goal by Leafs forward Kasperi Kapanen 3:54 into the final frame, just 1:14 later. Bruins captain Zdeno Chara added an empty-netter with 1:33 left in regulation to secure what may be looked back on as one of the more important wins of the season.

Marchand is playing like an MVP but he made sure to let Leafs fans know he hasn’t lost the antagonist side that made him one of the NHL’s most hated players when he received the trophy for his MVP honors.

“I thought they were expecting me to do a lap, so I just did a lap,” Marchand quipped.
Unfortunately, for the Leafs, Marchand was doing laps around the net and offensive zone for much of the game, posting seven shots and helping the Bruins find their game again.

On Friday though, the Bruins found their identity again, coming in heavy in the forecheck and never giving up on plays that went the other way, even on odd-man rushes. This was a gut-check win for the Bruins and here’s some grades on a game that, even with a game against the best team in the NHL, the Washington Capitals, looming back in Boston Saturday night, will serve as a reminder of what this team can do.

Brad Marchand (A)

As referenced above, when the Bruins needed their leaders to step up, Marchand delivered with his 12th and 13th goals of the season to push the Bruins through a grinding, back and forth game with a desperate Leafs team that had lost two straight and was trying to turn their fortunes around as well. Marchand was everywhere around the net and despite being in the NHL’s top three in points, somehow found space in the same danger zone all night. Marchand continues to come a long way from his days of licking the Leafs in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs to kicking them when they’re down.

Second Line: A +

One of the reasons Marchand, and his ‘Perfection Line’ mates Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak had the energy to step up in the third and lead their team when it counts was because of the makeshift second line of Anders Bjork-David Krejci-Charlie Coyle playing more minutes. Coyle led all Bruins forwards with 19:13 and made those minutes count with a goal and an assist. Krejci assisted on the Marchand game-winner and played 19:04, while Bjork played a season-high of 16:29. Bjork may have had his best game of the season too as he was a presence on both sides of the ice.

Tuukka Rask (A)

Rask was riding his first three-game losing streak of the season and had been admittedly off in two of his last three starts. On Friday he was the safety valve the Bruins needed whenever anything leaked through a rather tightened path to the net. He made 29 saves and was the main reason the Bruins entered the third period tied at one as he stopped 14 of 15 Leafs shots in the middle frame. The Bruins suffocated the Leafs out-shooting them 15-7 in the third but when Toronto started buzzing to tie it, he shut the door to put an exclamation point on one of his better wins of the season.

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